I love football. Those who read my blog regularly know that I do. I’ve loved it since the age of seven. My mother has always marveled how I hold useless football trivia in my head, rather than school work.
She might well be right.
It might be nostalgia, but I feel I loved football in a more romantic age, when normal men were doing superhero flashes of skill. Take Maradona, or even Peter Beardsley or John Barnes. It made football more exciting, because on some bizarre level, you identified with the players.
The money in the game is well documented, along with the scandals and transfer fees, and they have always been there. They’re not going away. And the players, the Ronaldos and Messis. They are outstanding sportsmen, amazing athletes, up there playing head tennis with the Gods. And their stats tell the story.
But, in my humble opinion, it feels that these players like should be performing like that, considering the amount they’re paid, how much the clubs charge the fans and the TV money involved. And it’s this that brings me to the conclusion that the magic is being seived out the game. Don’t get me wrong, the Messis and Ronaldos work hard and perform well, but it’s no longer a surprise when they score an overhead volley because they do it every week and they are paid huge amounts of dosh. Call me envious, you might be right. I understand they still have to go out there and do the job, while taking smacks, kicks, criticism etc. However, if they scored the same overhead volley while tied up, playing the violin and dressed as a dolphin, I might stop yawning.
Yet again this summer we’re seeing even more millions being spent on transfer fees and wages, especially in the Premier League, for players I have never heard of. Daniel Levy, the Tottenham Hotspurs director, has already spoken of the other clubs’ irresponsible behaviour in the transfer market and the importance of balancing the books, and I agree. At the same time in the UK, I read in the British press that NHS is going up in smoke, poverty on the rise, and reports of yet another economic crash on the way; the whole football industry it feels a bit morally bankrupt to me.
Then we have the recent insane bid for the Brazilian superstar Neymar. He currently plays for Barcelona. Paris St Germain have reportedly bid around £200 million. Yes. Catch your breath and read that again. £200 million. For a football player. One man. There have been other crazy bids that have given me a wet fish slap over the years, but this one makes me question whether the sport has spiralled out of control.
I’m not naive enough not to mention shirt sales and other revenue he can bring to the club. Just think though, one rash challenge could wreck his season, or worse, his career. You wouldn’t wish that on anyone, yet it happens.
Some say the money goes back into the game, but I’m less sure about that. These deals go to the club or the agents, etc. I could go on all day, yet I want to see if there’s anyone out there who thinks this is good for the beautiful game. At the moment, it’s a sport I’m increasingly becoming detached from. Well, that is until the Premiership kicks off again in two weeks or so, but until then, I’ll sit and remain in disgust while the game spins out of control without a ball being kicked.